The wild bunch hold their 50th Union reunion
In 1954, the rebellious senior class of Carbondale Union High School saved enough money to take a weekend roadtrip to Mexico for their senior “Sneak Day” – but ended up staying a week longer than permitted.On Saturday, most of the 17 members of that 1954 graduating class gathered at Sopris Park in Carbondale for their 50-year reunion to eat, laugh and reminisce about wild adventures of long ago. Members of the classes of ’52, ’53, ’55 and ’56 were also welcome to attend.”I still have my big sombrero and my flaring skirt,” said Carbondale resident Jackie Shipley Gross to fellow ’54 graduate and Glenwood resident LeAnn Thompson Arbaney, chuckling as she imitated the hat’s shape with her hands. “We all ran in a pack,” Thompson Arbaney said of the five girls in the 1954 class, some of whom smoked for the first time during the 10-day journey. “We had a great time – the big bananas and hats – our memories are wonderful,” said ’54 grad Sharlyne Helzer Anderson of Lake Almanor, Calif.Some of the boys ran away from the chaperones who had escorted the class to Mexico, escaping to Juarez for the day, said ’54 grad Dave Warlick, a Bayfield resident. “We were the last of the wild bunch,” he said.”We always did our own thing; we weren’t the traditionalist kind of class,” said ’54 graduate Warren Fiscus, who now lives in Palmer, Alaska, with his wife, ’55 grad Donna Davis Fiscus. Davis Fiscus, a cheerleader for the high school, had her heart set on Warren, who eventually asked her out on a date. “Back then, girls didn’t ask,” Davis Fiscus said. “Our class has been extremely close over the years because we were a small class,” Shipley Gross said. The class of 1954 regularly holds reunions, and many of the graduates still live in the valley and keep in touch.”There’s a lot of camaraderie between us,” said ’54 grad and Grand Junction resident Bill Holgate. “We’ve all kept a real positive outlook on life, and we’ve been happy to have these kinds of gatherings.”About 60 graduates of Carbondale Union High School, now Roaring Fork High School, attended the potluck reunion. Excited shouts broke through the chatter as people recognized old friends, some of whom they haven’t seen for 30 years. Despite the physical transformations – mainly, the sea of gray heads – many who went to the reunion said their classmates haven’t changed all that much since the 1950s.”I never change, and I want to see how everyone else has changed,” Fiscus said. “We got better-looking,” Holgate said. “We’ve filled out – some of us a little too much.”Today, many people who graduate with large classes may not realize the value of reunions, Helzer Anderson said.”It’s important that people attend reunions,” she said. “Memories are the one thing you always have.”The class of 1954’s Mexican getaway prompted the school to stop allowing long Sneak Day excursions, much to the disappointment of Davis Fiscus, who only got a trip to Denver with her 1955 senior class. “They ruined it for us,” she said good-naturedly, smiling at her husband.Contact Christine Dell’Amore: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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